“so mo age mi”: A Rant


I stumbled on a trending series of skits on Instagram yesterday- “so mo age mi” which is very much hilarious in its own way and entirely relatable especially to a Nigerian, more specifically to people from the Yoruba tribe. For non-Yoruba folks, ‘so mo age mi’ translates to ‘do you know my age/ how old I am’ and this is usually not asked in a subtle way but as a response for when an older person feels ‘their’ respect is being threatened. Be careful not to try responding when asked this question as it is a rhetorical one. Attempting to reply to this question would be categorised as being suicidal.

Back to ‘So mo age mi’. You ever asked someone older than you in Nigeria something with the most curious and innocent intent and ‘their’ response leaves you in total wonderment like “but what did I ask wrong?”.

You can ask “why” and ‘they’ immediately think it is a challenge on the respect ‘they’ deserve. No matter how you garnish the “why”. e.g. “may I ask why”, “why Ma”, “please why”. The presence of this singular monosyllabic word is already a threat to ‘their’ authority.

(I am careful to use ‘they’ and ‘their’ to show respect to the ones that this write-up is about. If you know, you know)

From the title of this piece, this is a rant. And I’m officially tired of Nigerians and their constant demand for the respect they have not given or earned. I wish they demanded ‘CHANGE’ from the current Government as much as they demand this kind of respect.

I am of the School of Thought that respect should be accorded everyone regardless of their age, size or status in the society. One should not speak to a child shabbily just because “so mo age mi”, nor to a gateman because according to societal rankings they are not on your level.

I believe one of the causes of our daily problems in this Country is our constant demand for respect. And just as in Economics, if the demand outweighs the supply, it would make something as regular as ‘respect’ become ‘priceless’. This sort of respect has become an obsessive invisible cloak of dignity that people wear around with the hopes that they would cash out someday soon, with all the gallons that they have gathered over the years, after every birthday, after a new achievement, especially the ultimate ‘Marriage!. You ever hear of cases when someone marries and says her friends should not call her by name anymore?

The Hilarity.

A traffic case scenario:

Two motorists hit each other or are trying to pass through a narrow road at the same time, but instead of being civil and addressing the immediate issue, it becomes a topic of “So mo age mi?” “do you know who I am?”. Please, who are you, SIR? Where is your Herald to help us with the information of who you are SIR?

30 minutes later, there is still a call and response of “do you know who I am?”. 30 minutes of traffic because two people are shocked that the other person does not know who the other person is. 30 minutes of human lives being on hold because one Doctor that should have gotten to the hospital 30 minutes ago was stuck in traffic caused by two motorists that don’t know who they are. 30 minutes of production delay because the person in charge of quality assurance is stuck in this same traffic. 30 minutes of unproductivity.

Sometimes I feel if Nigeria was as humid as the Arabian climate, or as cold as North European climate, maybe, just maybe we would have less time wasted demanding respect. When the desert heat of a place like Dubai or the winter cold of a place like Russia hits one, one would forget how the respect rhyme (“so mo age mi?”, “do you know who I am?”) starts or ends.

One quote for every Nigerian, whether young or old:

“Sit down, Be Humble” – Kendrick Lamar

Disclaimer: This post is not to promote uncouth speaking to older people, but to address the belief that Respect is a one-way/ down-up trip. I feel everyone should be treated with Respect whether young or old, affluent or poor, married or single, at work or in traffic. Everyone.


N.B. Before you leave this page, can you kindly take a “so mo age mi?” test below:

Question: Does your chest tighten and do you feel like you are about to explode when someone younger than you calls you by name without the prefixes Aunty, Uncle, Mr, Mrs.?





  1. Avatar
    Ekene Temi

    Why am I just reading this??😭😭

    Lemmi give you one story,
    One day jeje n temi, I decided to use the ATM after church. Getting there, I met someone already using it, I said lemmi shift to one side and give oga privacy. While I was waiting, this other guy came and stood ahead of me like he was next. In my mind I’m like, he can’t be serious, he knows I got here before him. Like film, this guy just went to use the ATM after the oga finished, totally ignoring me, totally ignoring the fact that he met me there. I’m like this one is a joker, lemmi give him a piece of mind. God knows I did not expect the response that came from his mouth. After I go, “excuse me, you met me here”. The guy goes, “do I look like your mate, you don’t have respect” I’m like 😧😵😮😲😦
    I didn’t even have a comeback. I was dazed. How can somebody be thinking like this??

    People need help oo. They are sick 😷
    And it’s not a Yoruba thing
    The Yorubas just seem more vocal about their own but the average Nigerian is dealing with this. Even the educated ones sadly.

  2. Avatar

    Sometimes, my chest tightens o! Sho no age mi! 😂😂😂.
    Arguing or making a lot of noise about the respect you deserve because you think you are somewhat older is silly though. Being a victim of such especially if you have anger issues is even worse. Well done Oyin.

    1. Avatar

      Loooooool! @ ‘sometimes my chest tightens o!” Thank you for being honest 😂. I appreciate your reading and commenting very much 💃🏽🙏🏾

  3. Avatar

    Kudos Oyin. This is a well written post. Particularly loved the part where you said if Nigeria was humid or cold we probably won’t have time to be demanding respect as much as we do.
    People really need to understand that you don’t earn respect because of your age. Sit down, be humble. Lol. Nice one, I enjoyed reading this. Keep it up dear.

    1. Avatar

      Thank yoouuuu so much Doyin for taking your time to read. I appreciate! you know, only fine weather would make people stand outside and be wasting time asking for respect. Hopeful, we’ll unlearn some things, and learn more effective ways of doing things. Thank you once again.

  4. Avatar

    Lol, before nko. My chest would tighten.

    So mo age mi nii..

    Love the piece Oyin. Well done

    1. Avatar

      yimu. hope your age can buy plots in heaven sha lol. thanks Devsaw for reading and commenting. Oya go and read your book o.

  5. Avatar

    Hmmm! This “so mo age mi” test ehn be shaking table small small o… the way some peeps talk just because we (short ladies) are down to earth

    Nice writeup!!!

    1. Avatar

      lmao!!!!!!!!! @ ‘we short ladies’. Don’t mind them jare sweetheart.

  6. Avatar

    Niiiccceee. So apt too. Hmmmn!

    1. Avatar

      I know righttt… Thank you so much for reading

  7. Avatar

    Lol. Well-written. First time here, certainly won’t be the last. Btw, the “so mo age mi” test is a glass table, shake it small small. 😂

    Nice one.

    1. Avatar

      Thank you sooooo much Busayo for checking out my post! I very much appreciate this. loooool @ “glass table”. once again, thank you!

  8. Avatar

    Well written dear 😗

  9. Avatar

    Well written dear…. So wish I can just put words together like this 😗

    1. Avatar

      Halimahhhhh thank you for always checking my posts! i appreciate very much

  10. Avatar
    SuperAkerele Oluwarantimi

    The hilarity.
    Nice one Oyin, I’m not going to take your test because I feel attacked. LOL!

    BTW, one day we’ll talk about another angle to this respect thing – treating left-handers with disdain when they use their more preferred hand for ‘elders’.

    Nice one fam!

    1. Avatar

      Funny. I voiced out when a man shouted at me few days ago. In my words “I am not a small boy, you know?”. I felt disrespected because that was his second time in just over two weeks and I had to set the record straight. Respect like you stated is a two way thing. Nice write up.

    2. Avatar

      Hahahaha! you are not the only one. Mahn this your angle is very valid! I strongly believe if you offer a yoruba elderly person 1 million dollars with your left hand, they’ll reject it.
      I appreciate your reading and commenting. I await a new post on your blog as well ;).

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